Rajasthan: Ashok Gehlot government passes anti-cheating Bill

The Ashok Gehlot govt in Rajasthan has passed a Bill- Measures For Prevention Of Unfair Means In Recruitment in the Vidhan Sabha to prevent the leaking of question papers in exams like REET

Representative image
Representative image

Prakash Bhandari

Learning a lesson from the leaking of question papers in the entrance examination for teachers (REET), the Ashok Gehlot government in Rajasthan has got a Bill- Measures For Prevention Of Unfair Means In Recruitment passed in the Vidhan Sabha. This Bill is being seen as an effective measure taken by the government to punish all those found indulging in stealing the question papers and selling it on premium to the aspiring teachers to enable them get the government job. There is a provision of imprisonment up to ten years and fine up to 10 crores in the Bill to prevent cheating and use of unfair means in competitive examination.

The Bill also provides for attachment of the properties of all those indulging in the unfair practice.

The Bill provides for punishment to all those taking unauthorised help in the public examination and they may face a jail term of up to three years and a fine no less than Rs one lakh.

Every person found guilty of being involved in the cheating gang will be fined a minimum of Rs 10 lakhs and a maximum of Rs 10 crores. Provisions have been made in the Bill to confiscate the properties of the copying gang.

All offenses specified under the proposed Act shall be non-bailable, and non-compoundable. All examinees who have been convicted of an offense under the provision of the Act shall be debarred from taking any public examination for a period of two years.

If the investigating officer believes that any property represents proceeds of the offense made under the Act, he or she with prior approval from the government can seize such property-both moveable and immovable.

The state government made a law in 1992 to prevent cheating in examination, but there are no punitive provisions in the law of 1992.

The state government in February this year had canceled the various levels of the REET after it was discovered that the question papers were leaked with the active involvement of some education department officials. The state government removed the Chairman of the Rajasthan State Secondary Education Board, D P Jaroli.

Basically, the REET exam is conducted for the recruitment of teachers for two different levels, namely Level I or Primary Teacher and Level II or Upper Primary Teacher. Thus, those who clear REET become eligible for the post of teachers in classes 1-5 and classes 6-8 in schools and educational institutions of the state. Further, as per the updated rules declared by the Rajasthan government, only Basic School Teaching Certificate (BSTC) holders are allowed to appear in the REET Level-1 examination. REET or Rajasthan Eligibility Examination for Teachers is one of the esteemed exams in India.

Several lakh youths appear for this examination to qualify to become teachers at various levels in government-run schools.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot after reviewing the various reports following the arrests of the persons involved in the leakage of the entrance exam papers and also the criminals involved in selling these examination papers decided to sack the Chairman for his failure to maintain the sanctity and secrecy of the examination procedures.

The minimum age criteria for taking the REET exam is 18 years while there is no maximum age criteria. The exam is conducted offline and there is no negative marking.

The state government ordered the cancellation of the examination and a fresh examination would be held in which 30 lakh youths seeking to become teachers would appear. The state government had announced that all those who pass the REET would not be required to take new examinations whenever vacancies arise. The candidates who passed the REET examination would automatically qualify for the jobs in the education department.

Higher education minister, Rajendra Singh Yadav, who tabled the Bill said the Bill aims at providing effective measures to prevent the leaking of question papers and use of unfair means at public recruitment examination at any post under the state government including autonomous bodies, authorities and boards.

A similar Bill was enacted by the Uttar Pradesh government a few months ago.

Leader of Opposition during the debate on the Bill said that there was a need for maintaining secrecy in the examinations and he said the various educational coaching institutes are involved in the paper leak. He said the question papers thus leaked are sold at a premium and it's bought by the rich candidates using unfair means. These rich candidates get selected by securing higher marks while the sons and daughters of the poor candidates suffer.

Congress MLA Sanyam Lodha said the measures taken by the government to curb the crimes and unfair means in the public recruitment examination were laudable, but there was an urgent need for reforms in conducting such examinations.

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